Friday, July 20, 2012

Teens back from Jimmy Awards in NYC

In May, Young Achievers profiled two young performers honored at the inaugural Blumey Awards at the Belk Theater in uptown Charlotte. 

The 2012 Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards ceremony honored high school entertainers in 13 categories, including Best Musical and Best Actor and Actress. 

Kyle Conroy, a senior at Jay M. Robinson High, was named best actor for his performance as Seymour in the school’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Taylor Neal, a sophomore at Cuthbertson High, won best actress as Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.” 

Because of their win on a regional level, the two traveled to the National High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as the Jimmys, this month for a one-week, all-expenses-paid trip to New York. 

Today, we will hear from Taylor about how the trip to NYC and what the teens experienced. 

From Taylor: 
"From the moment all 60 of us arrived (in New York City), we were rehearsing and meeting so many talented performers. Each day, we woke up at around 7 a.m. to walk to Tisch (School of the Arts) and begin learning our medleys, opening and closing numbers, and lots of choreography. 

I was very nervous about the whole process, but I loved every second that I was there. "I learned so much, especially from my vocal coach, Michael McElroy. He was in RENT on Broadway and was also nominated for a Tony. He was so helpful and gave me so many future audition tips. 

"The best piece of advice he gave me was that when you are expressing yourself while singing, the vowels in the words are how you feel and the consonance are the actions. I thought that was absolutely brilliant. 

"The most memorable part for me was when we arrived at the Minskoff Theatre. The second I stepped on that stage, I felt so overwhelmed with emotions. It hit me that I was going to be performing with the most talented group of young actors I've ever met and I just felt completely blessed. Not many people get to perform on a Broadway stage, so I just feel like the luckiest actress in the world. 

"Saying goodbye to everyone I met there was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. Each person there was so supportive of the winners and we all became a big, happy family. 

"Luckily, I keep in contact with all of them on Facebook so we all stay connected. Lastly I'll talk about being filmed by PBS the whole week. At first, I was a little intimidated by the fact that they would film our every move while rehearsing and performing, but I didn't notice them after a while. They filmed the whole experience of the Jimmy Awards and everyone will be able to watch the three-part documentary on PBS called, 'Broadway or Bust.' 

"The first episode will air at prime time on Sept. 9, and I am so excited to see it. It was such an incredible and life-changing experience that I can't wait for others to watch. I really hope that 'Broadway or Bust' inspires young performers all around the country to keep performing, just like it did for me." 

Photo: (Center) Taylor Neal performing at the Jimmy Awards in New York City. Photo courtesy of Linda Neal.